A 21-year-old man from Madhya Pradesh’s Rajgarh district has been in the jail for the past five months. His crime – he was the ‘default admin’ of a WhatsApp group where a member forwarded an objectionable message.
Junaid Khan, a BSc student was arrested in February this year after a man named Irfan, the admin of a WhatsApp group, shared an objectionable message. Irfan later left the group after which Junaid was made the ‘default admin’. But the message sparked a reaction among locals who filed a complaint at Talen police station. A case was registered under IT Act and IPC Section 124 (A) and the two were arrested.
Junaid’s family claims that he is innocent as he was unaware of being appointed as the default WhatsApp admin. They also say that he had to miss his examinations as he was denied a bail, reports The Times of India.
Owing to the growing number of cases where rumours and inflammatory social media content triggered violence, the authorities are now clamping down heavily on platforms like Facebook and WhatsApp. Governments in various states have been regularly issuing warnings to WhatsApp admins to take responsibility for the content that is shared in their groups.
In May last year, an autorickshaw driver from Uttara Kannada district of Karnataka was arrested after someone posted obscene content mocking Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a WhatsApp group. Krishna Sanna Thamma Naik, who was the admin of the group was arrested and booked under IT act, reports India Today.
Last week, in a bid to check mass forwarding of messages, WhatsApp said it will limit the forwarding of messages to five chats at one go. The announcement came in the aftermath of the government’s warning of legal action against the messaging platform that has often been misused to propagate fake news triggering incidents of mob lynchings and violence in India.